Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sowing While You Sew

 This was originally posted a couple of weeks ago at Daisy Chain Creations, bringing it back home today...
Sowing While You Sew is such a great series, I'm so glad Sally invited me to contribute. You know, when I was growing up I learned many types of sewing skills (hand embroidery, cross stitch, machine sewing, quilting) during 4th and 5th grade summer school (which was free). I also took some sewing classes during Junior High School. Nowadays I don't think many schools offer these types of classes anymore, so if we want our children to know some basic sewing skills, like how to sew on a button, for example, we have to teach them ourselves. And what a perfect opportunity to do to some sewing projects together would be during those 3 long months off of school during the summer, just something to keep in mind when you're making those plans for the summer.

Anyway, today I'm going to share with you what I've done to teach my son how to sew.

Back when he was 4.5 years old, I cut out a piece of burlap from an empty rice bag, and placed it into an embroidery hoop.

 Besides sewing, I also knit, so I always have some yarn and a tapestry needle (thick blunt metal hand sewing needle) on hand.
 He took these tools and materials and hand sewed a yellow flower and white star.
 Fast forward 5 years to now when I recently told him: "I'm going to teach you how to sew. You can use my sewing machine." And my 9 year old son said: "Finally!"

The whole goal was to start out simple and teach him how to sew a straight line on the sewing machine ~ he started with a very easy instant gratification project called: canvas loose-leaf paper project.  It's such a great little project, it is simply sewing one red, then many blue straight lines on a small size rectangle canvas fabric. In the end you have a piece of fabric that looks like a piece of loose leaf paper!

The first couple of lines I placed a strip of yellow tape that he used as a guide...
 then the rest of the blue lines he used the edge of the presser foot as the guide. He quickly discovered that the harder he pressed on the foot peddle, the faster the sewing machine went and there were smiles and laughs when he went really fast!

 So after he got some practice done, it was on to the drawstring backpack. I wanted to make this fun for him, so I made sure to include his favorite colors. Solid yellow pima cotton fabric and red thread were used for this project. I also thought that a darker thread on a lighter fabric would make it easier to see what he was doing. This is a simple flat tote where the drawstrings are also shoulder straps. The 2 drawstrings are anchored in the lower corners and gather in the top hem channel. In case anyone is interested, this drawstring backpack is made out of only one piece of fabric cut 12"X32" and two cords that were cut 60" long. After sewing several straight lines, he was done! A drawstring backpack is a perfect beginner sewing project, I had no idea that it was so easy to make.

To add to the fun factor I made a teeny tiny sized drawstring backpack for his favorite tiger stuffed animal. 
 My son also created a LEGO sewing machine!
I gathered some resources that might be helpful with sewing a drawstring backpack:
Gifts are for giving, so I encourage you to pass on your sewing skills onto your children. Have fun sewing with your kids!